sydney_chirpName: Ernest Scalabrin

Major: Biomedical Engineering

Hometown: Northvale, New Jersey (near New York City)

Year: Class of 2017

What do you want to be when you grow up?

At this point I think I want to be a surgeon. (I know I know…typical Hopkins pre-med right?) Actually, for me the way I came to this conclusion was quite odd. A lot of pre-meds I know have been influenced by their parents’ opinions or have wanted to be a doctor since they got their first checkup. In contrast to this paradigm, I grimaced at the thought when my mother (a nurse) repeatedly asked me if I wanted to be a doctor. I liked to work with my hands and wanted to go into engineering and the possibility of being a physician did not appeal to me until (through a series of convoluted events) I found myself in an operating room observing my first surgery. Almost instantly the elegance and ability to use your hands to directly help people struck me and since then I have seen hundreds of procedures and logged several hundred hours of observation time. At this point I’m not bored yet so I guess I’m still pre-med.

What’s a piece of advice that you would give to an incoming student?

Find something that gives you peace.

That really goes for everyone but incoming college students often lack something that leaves them feeling more content with their circumstances than before.

What puts a smile on your face?

Actually I think I’m better at frowning than smiling, but that’s another story.

It doesn’t take much to make me happy; spending time with friends, a burrito from Chipotle, a good Lord of the Ring’s quote or that feeling after you finish a really tough week of classes all do the job for me.

What do you do when you’re not studying?

So another piece of advice I could add to the earlier question would be to get involved with some organization or extracurricular activity because it’s easy to make friends with people who have similar interests as you.

Personally, the most significant student organization I’m involved in is HCF (The Hopkins Christian Fellowship) and I have a really great time hanging out with my friends I’ve met there. Currently I am a member of a brain cancer research lab focusing on MSC’s (mesenchymal stem cells) and their ability to be used as drug delivery vehicles in situ. I also work part time at the JHMI Core Store, where I deliver chemicals and other supplies to the labs at the JHMI campus.

One endeavor this semester that is related to my major (BME) is Design Team, where teams of undergraduates are presented with a clinical medical dilemma from practitioners at Hopkins Hospital or elsewhere and work on a REAL solution to that problem for a year or more. My team is working on a way to mitigate prehospital junctional hemorrhage in a military setting. It has been a great creative outlet as well as a real world exercise in team work.